Lemons might not be the first fruit you think to bake with in the summertime. For me, that’s definitely berries. But lemons should not be overlooked, because lemon desserts are refreshing and crowd-pleasing. Here are a few of our favorite lemon desserts.
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Lemon Cookie Bars
Our pleasantly chewy Lemon Cookie Bars combine the best of sugar cookies and lemon squares. They’re easy to stir together, and you just transfer the batter right to a 13 by 9-inch baking pan instead of having to shape individual cookies.
While they don’t have the soft curd-like texture of lemon squares, they are full of tart, floral lemon flavor and are sturdy and easy to pick up—perfect for passing around at a barbecue. A light lemon glaze reinforces the sweet-tart flavors. Finish them with some sprinkles for a summery vibe. (I especially love these pink lemonade sprinkles on them.)
Lemon Cookie BarsLike a cross between sugar cookies and lemon bars, these bar cookies are chewy, sweet, and vibrant.
Frozen Lemonade Cake
If you are looking for a cool, creamy, make-ahead lemon dessert, then you’ll want to try our Frozen Lemonade Cake. It starts with a simple, lightly sweet, and crisp animal cracker–crumb crust. Then a mixture of vanilla ice cream, whipped topping, and frozen lemonade concentrate gets spread over the crust. For a vibrant and punchy middle layer, a combination of lemon curd, yellow food coloring, and more whipped topping goes on next. And finally another layer of the vanilla ice cream mixture goes on top. After the cake sets up in the freezer for at least 6 hours, for a decorative finish, simply dip a pastry brush in yellow food coloring and paint stripes on top.
As one commenter noted, “This cake was a hit! It was tart, creamy, and refreshing.” And we’re sure it will be a hit when you serve it too.
Frozen Lemonade CakeFor a refreshing, all-American summer dessert, we start with an animal-cracker crust and layer on lemonade-flavored ice cream and sweet-tart lemon curd.
North Carolina Lemon Pie
A salty-sweet crust made with saltines, butter, and light corn syrup is the base of this salty, sweet, and sour lemon dessert, which is popular along the North Carolina coast. There are many versions of North Carolina lemon pie—or lemon pie, as it’s typically called in North Carolina. We make ours with a custard filling that is bright and sour, as it’s meant to be. A simple whipped cream topping balances it out.
Watch the video below to learn how to make North Carolina Lemon Pie, step by step.
Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake
Sheet cakes are often a summer cookout go-to, and it’s no wonder. They’re a simple way to make cake for a crowd. This Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake, like so many lemon desserts, is sweet and tart and a little tangy. The buttermilk reinforces the tanginess of the lemon in the cake. A glaze made of lemon juice, confectioners’ sugar, and buttermilk coats the top, while some homemade lemon sugar sprinkled on top adds sparkle. Set it out and watch it disappear.
Lemon Buttermilk Sheet CakeA sweet-tart lemon sheet cake holds a lot of promise as a light summer dessert-but sheet cakes are hard to bake evenly, and we wanted bright, not sour, lemon flavor. In our recipe, tangy buttermilk reinforces the lemon flavor in both the cake and glaze.
Lemon lovers will be excited to see any of these lemon desserts as part of a summer party spread! (And you don’t have to tell them how easy they all are to make!)